Donald Trump savors his revenge against the Republicans who supported his impeachment

Only two of the 10 conservative-party congressmen who voted to impeach Trump have options to run for re-election

Miguel Jiménez
Liz Cheney, in a session of the House of Representatives in 2021.
Liz Cheney, in a session of the House of Representatives in 2021.Olivier DOULIERY (Getty Images)

Donald Trump neither forgets nor forgives. When the House of Representatives voted in favor of his second impeachment, which would take place in the Senate for the assault on Capitol Hill, 10 Republican congressmen supported the decision. Trump declared war on them, and his revenge has been successful. Only two will be eligible for re-election in the midterm elections to be held on November 8, when they will face their Democratic rivals. This Tuesday, one last congresswoman will have her fate decided in the primaries: Liz Cheney, a longtime rival of the former president, who also seems doomed to defeat.

“Crazy Liz Cheney, who rarely leaves Virginia, will be shown the door by the great people of Wyoming next Tuesday,” Trump tweeted on Friday. That same day, the search warrant for his Mar-a-Lago estate showed that he is being investigated for three possible crimes, while the property receipt indicated he was in possession of numerous classified documents.

Wyoming is the least populated and most Trump-supporting state in the entire country. The former president received 70% of the vote in 2020, beating Joe Biden by more than 43 points. In the upcoming race, Trump is supporting candidate Harriet Hageman, who currently has a wide lead in the polls. Hageman has sided with Trump on the Mar-a-Lago search, denouncing it as “political persecution.” “If the FBI can treat a former president this way, imagine what they can do to the rest of us. It is a justice system with double standards: one for the elites and another for their political enemies,” said the candidate. Hageman also backs Trump’s theory that the 2020 election was stolen.

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, meanwhile, has become an outlaw in her own party. She can’t even hold rallies for fear of backlash. Cheney is a purebred conservative: opposed to abortion, pro-guns and an advocate of fossil fuels, tax cuts, arms spending and tough foreign policy. Her opposition to same-sex marriage brought her into public conflict with her lesbian sister, Mary. But her great sin was recognizing the obvious, Biden’s victory in 2020. Prior to the assault on Capitol Hill, Trump called for getting rid of the “Liz Cheneys of the world.” Cheney supported Trump’s impeachment for inciting insurrection, and she has played a prominent role in the January 6 commission of inquiry. Republican voters in her state have not forgiven her.

Trump has ensured that none of the 10 who supported his prosecution will extend their tenure. Four threw in the towel and did not even show up for the primaries: Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), John Katko (New York) and Fred Upton (Michigan).

The other six have pursued re-election, but with little success. The first to fall, in June, was Tom Rice of South Carolina. He was beaten by Russell Fry, backed by Trump, who put the “betrayal” of the former president at the center of his campaign. Rice was also an orthodox conservative, who did not usually stray from the party line until the impeachment. When he began campaigning, he complained about the ex-president’s revenge.

Dan Newhouse, Republican representative from Washington, in a session of the House of Representatives.
Dan Newhouse, Republican representative from Washington, in a session of the House of Representatives.AP

David Valadao restored some hope to the group by winning his California district. Even so, he made the cut by about 1,500 votes. He won 25.6% of the votes, putting him 20 points behind Democrat Rudy Salas. Valadao and Salas face off on November 8, but there are serious risks that the Republican will lose, especially if he fails to mobilize the Trump vote.

Last week came Super Tuesday for the impeachment supporters. Three candidates faced each other in the primaries, two in Washington and one in Michigan. Peter Meijier of Michigan, a 34-year-old conservative, had a promising career in the party before he criticized Trump’s performance. He said he was aware that his political future could have ended because of his decision. He was narrowly defeated by Trump-allied John Gibbs, a conspiracy theorist so extreme that Democrats believed his candidacy would automatically give them the seat in November. They launched a campaign that, pretending to criticize him, actually reinforced his credentials for Trump-supporting voters. The Democrats achieved their goal. Now it remains to be seen if they can defeat him.

In Washington, Representative Jaime Herrera Butler also fell last week after six terms in the House of Representatives. Three Trump loyalists, deniers of Biden’s victory, competed for the position. One of them, Joe Kent, will face Democrat Marie Perez in November.

Dan Newhouse, also from Washington, may be the group’s only hope. He won the primary last week with more votes than his Democrat rival. He has served four terms in Congress, his campaign was well-financed and he had a split Trump vote against him. He dedicated himself to attacking the Trump-backed candidate with insinuations of corruption, and it paid off.

This Tuesday will bring the latest chapter in Trump’s revenge against the 10 politicians who supported his second impeachment trial. Trump will celebrate the defeat of Liz Cheney in style. It will serve as a cautionary tale for those who do not stand behind the ex-president.

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